April 24th, 2017

Bargain Finder 83: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Kentucky Gun Co. — Ruger Prec. Rifle 6.5 Creedmoor, $1168.01

6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle

Here’s a great deal if you’re looking for a GEN2 6.5 Creedmoor Ruger Precision Rifle for PRS events or other bolt-action tactical applications. The 6.5 Creedmoor is the hot ticket for this rifle, and RPRs with this chambering have been in short supply. You’ll find many sellers charging $1400.00+ for this rifle, if they have it at all.

This week you can get a GEN2 Ruger Precision Rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor for just $1168.01 from Kentucky Gun Company, with FREE Shipping to boot. The “Cash Price” price is even cheaper, $1133.99. And GunPrime.com also has the 6.5CM RPR for $1199.00 this week. Curious about the differences between the GEN2 Ruger Precision Rifle and the original Model? CLICK HERE for a complete spec comparison and a video (scroll down landing page).

2. Midsouth — Norma Tac-22 .22 LR Ammo, $3.99/box

Norma Tac22 Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire 22LR ammunition ammo

This Norma .22 LR ammo shoots WAY better than you’d expect given the low price — just $3.99 per 50ct box at Midsouth. These test targets come from Champion Shooters Supply. That vendor reports: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.” We suggest you grab some of this Tac-22 while you can at these rock-bottom prices.

Norma Tac22 Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire 22LR ammunition ammo

3. Natchez — Surplus SKB 5041 Transport Cases, $129.99

SKB Rifle Case Military Surplus 50

Natchez has obtained a supply of British MOD Surplus SKB 5041 rifle cases. These were ordered as mine detector cases, but were never issued. Natchez has removed the foam cut for the detectors and replaced it with new 2-piece convoluted foam. Interior dimension of the case is 50″x14.5″x5″ so this will hold long-barrel match rifles comfortably. These are extremely high-quality cases, very tough and rugged, waterproof with gaskets. These cases feature four SKB patented trigger latches, four reinforced padlock locations, and inline wheels. Though in excellent condition, some case may have minor exterior scuffs. You won’t find a better case at anywhere near the price. These normally retail for $299.99.

4. Sportsmans Outdoor — S&W M&P9 Shield, $239.99 after Rebate

Smith Wesson S&W M&P Shield 9mm 9x19

Here’s an awesome deal on a popular Smith & Wesson 9mm carry pistol. The M&P9 Shield (with thumb safety) is priced at just $314.99 at Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore. But it gets better — Smith & Wesson is offering a $75.00 Rebate. That lowers your net cost to just $239.99. That’s half what you might pay for a similar 9mm Glock. Good reason to buy American, and S&W’s warranty is rock solid. NOTE: This same M&P9 pistol without thumb safety is offered by Brownells for $359.99, or $284.99 after mail-in rebate.

5. Midsouth — 20-60x60mm Vortex Spotting Scope, $399.99

Vortex Spotting Scope Midsouth bargain

This is a very good spotting scope for the price. Yes it gives up some low-light performance to a spotter with an 80mm objective, but otherwise it is a good performer, and we can’t think of much that will touch this Vortex Diamondback spotting scope for anywhere near the $399.99 sale price. Choose from angled or straight version for the same $399.99 price, which includes the 20-60X zoom eyepiece.

6. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit, $67.99

Master tumbler reloading kit Frankford Arsenal

This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $67.99 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.

7. Powder Valley — Reloder 16 Powder, 1-pound and 8-pound

Powder Valley H4350 RL16 Reloder 16 powder PRS 6.5 Creedmoor

Powder Valley now has Alliant Reloder 16 (RL16) in stock in both 1-lb ($23.95) and 8-lb ($178.95) containers. If you’re not familiar with this relatively new propellant, we can tell you that RL16 may be the best replacement yet for hard-to-find Hodgdon H4350. Burn rate is very similar to H4350, and RL16 is extremely temp-stable. Most importantly, our Forum members are reporting outstanding accuracy with Reloder 16. It is well suited for mid-sized cartridges such as 6XC, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua, and .260 Remington. If you like H4350, we recommend you try a pound of Alliant’s impressive Reloder 16.

8. Monmouth Reloading — 500 Lake City 5.56 Cases, $35.00

Monmouth deals of week ar15 5.56 brass .223 Rem once-fired Lake City LC

500 pieces of Lake City brass for just thirty-five bucks? Yep, that’s a great deal for anyone who needs .223/5.56 brass for varmint safaris and tactical comps. Monmouth Reloading is selling genuine, once-fired Lake City 5.56x45mm brass sourced direct from the U.S. Military. NOTE: CLICK HERE and then select 500-ct pack — the 1000-ct is out of stock. Monmouth reports: “Our current stock of Lake City 5.56 looks to be all newer year Lake City head stamp but may contain a small percentage of other NATO headstamps. Lake City is a popular, reliable brass, normally capable of many reloads.” Monmouth includes 1% overage to account for any damaged brass. NOTE: Brass has crimped primers, so the pockets will need to be reamed or swaged prior to reloading.

9. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $31.11

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Muffs hearing protection Howard Leight earmuffs sale bargain

Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $31.11, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category.

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April 24th, 2017

Scope Dope — Make Your Own Laminated Ballistics Card

laminated ballistics Card print-out

Tactical competitor Zak Smith stores his elevation and wind drift data on a handy laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the info in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out.

Above is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in Mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed in inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple.”

Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. Keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent “Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1″ article on Zak’s website.

ballistics data scope coverScope-Cover Mounted Ballistics Table
Another option is to place your ballistics card on the back of the front flip-up scope cover. This set-up is used by Forum member Greg C. (aka “Rem40X”). With your ‘come-up’ table on the flip-up cover you can check your windage and elevation drops easily without having to move out of shooting position.

Greg tells us: “Placing my trajectory table on the front scope cover has worked well for me for a couple of years and thought I’d share. It’s in plain view and not under my armpit. And the table is far enough away that my aging eyes can read it easily. To apply, just use clear tape on the front objective cover.”

Links for JBM Ballistics Program

JBM Calculations Entry Page: www.jbmballistics.com/ballistics/calculators/calculators.shtml.

JBM Advanced Trajectory Calculator: www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj-5.1.cgi.

JBM Simple Trajectory Calculator: www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmtraj_simp-5.1.cgi.

JBM Trajectory Cards (Come-up Table): http://www.jbmballistics.com/cgi-bin/jbmcard-5.1.cgi.

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April 24th, 2017

Remington Arms Featured on Shooting USA TV This Week

Remington Arms Eliphalet Shooting USA Television TV

Remington Arms Company celebrated its 200th year in business in 2016. The Remington enterprise was founded in 1816 by Eliphalet Remington in Ilion, New York, as E. Remington and Sons. Remington is America’s oldest gun maker and is still the largest U.S. producer of shotguns and rifles.

CLICK HERE for 200 facts about the 200-year-old company.

This week, Shooting USA TV spotlights Remington, exploring the company’s 200 years of continuous production. The show covers the rich history of Remington Arms Company, and focuses on many of the company’s most noted firearms.

The Shooting USA Hour Airs Tuesdays and Wednesdays on the Outdoor Channel:

Eastern Time:
Tuesday 3:00 PM
Wednesday 9:30 PM, 1:00 AM

Central Time:
Tuesday 2:00 PM
Wednesday 8:30 PM, Midnight

Mountain Time:
Tuesday 1:00 PM
Wednesday 7:30 PM, 11:00 PM

Pacific Time:
Tuesday 12:00 PM (noon)
Wednesday 6:30 PM, 10:00 PM

eliphalet remington armsThe Founding of a Great Enterprise
Eliphalet Remington II grew up in the countryside of Herkimer County, New York, learning the blacksmith trade. Eliphalet told his father he wanted a gun, so his father told him to build one himself. And, so he did in 1816 with the help of a hired gunsmith to bore and rifle his barrel. Eliphalet then took the finished flintlock to a local shooting match.

“And apparently it was a very successful barrel. His gun shot well,” says Remington Historian Richard Shepler. “So, neighbors, friends said, ‘ could you make me a barrel?’ Over time there was more and more demand.”

By 1828, Eliphalet moved into a factory in Illion, New York. In 1845, he jumped at the opportunity to buy the first of many government contracts. When the Civil War broke out, Remington stayed busy producing firearms. While later in the 1890s during peacetime, Remington manufactured cash registers, sewing machines, knives and even the first successful typewriter. The storied history continues, from the Remington Double Derringer to the Remington Model 700, unquestionably the most successful American sporting rifle.

Remington Arms Company Eliphalet Rem 700

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April 23rd, 2017

Polish Inside of Seating Stems to Avoid Ring Marks on Bullets

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Here’s a helpful hint for hand-loaders from Sierra Bullets. While this article focuses on Sierra’s new Tipped Match-King bullets, the recommended solutions apply to other bullet types as well. The article explains how sharp edges on a seating stem can cause a ring to be pressed into the bullet jacket — especially with compressed loads that resist downward bullet movement. Here Sierra technician Rich Machholz diagnoses the problem and provides a solution.

Seating Stem Reloading Tip Sierra Bullet .223 Remington compressed loads

Solutions for Ring Marks Caused by Seating Stems

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Rich Machholz
Now that the new Tipped MatchKing® (TMK) bullets are being shipped and shooters are putting them to use I have received several calls regarding marking on the bullet ogive from the seating stem.

The cause can be traced to one of several things. In the .223 and especially with the long, 77 grain TMK seated at 2.250” or even 2.260” most loads of Varget® and Reloder® 15 are compressed loads, sometimes heavily compressed. This puts a great deal of pressure on the bullet through the seating stem. The result of all this pressure is a mark of varying depth and appearance on the ogive of the bullet. [Editor: We have seen this issue with a variety of other bullet types/shapes as well, including non-tipped VLDs. The solution is profiling the internal cone of the seating stem to match your bullet shape.]

Some older seating stems might even bear against the tip of the bullet which can make a slight bulge in the jacket just below the junction of the resin tip and the copper jacket in a compressed load. If this is the case there is not a ready fix other than calling the die manufacturer and requesting a new deeper seating stem.

Polish Your Seating Stem to Remove Sharp Internal Edges
If the seating stem is of proper depth the culprit most generally is a thin sharp edge on the inside taper of the seating stem. This is an easy fix that can be accomplished by chucking a spare 77 grain bullet in your drill, coating it with valve grinding compound or even rubbing compound or in a pinch even tooth paste.* Remove the seating stem assembly from the seating die. Turn the drill on and put the seating stem recess over the spinning bullet with the polishing compound to break or smooth the sharp edge that is making the offending mark. This might take more than one application to get the proper polish depending upon what you use, but the more you polish the better the blend of angles which will [ensure the stem matches the bullet contours, not leaving a sharp ring].

If the above is a little more than you care to tackle you might try very fine emery cloth twisted to a point that can be inserted into the mouth to the seating stem and rotated to polish the inside to eliminate any sharp edges that might be present.

Load Advice for 77gr TMKs in the .223 Rem
And last but certainly not least. Actually, even though we don’t say you need additional data for the TMKs, remember you are dealing with heavily-compressed loads in some cases because of the additional bullet length. Due to the additional length of these new bullets and in the interest of gaining some room in the case you might consider trying a slightly faster extruded powder like BenchMark or the 4895s or an even more dense powder like the spherical H335®, CFE223 or TAC. The extra room will allow for trouble free bullet seating also.

Good luck and remember we are no further away than your telephone: 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Match-King Reloading Bullet Seating

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 23rd, 2017

Rimfire Reactives — Spinners, Dueling Trees, Plate Racks & More

rimfire reactive steel target spinner dueling tree falling plates Volquartsen
An accurate, self-loading .22 LR rifle, such as this Volquartsen, is our gun of choice for speed shooting with rimfire reactive targets.

Reactive targets offer “instant gratification” — with every hit your target moves, spins, or falls. Shooting reactive targets with a rimfire rifle is fun AND affordable. Times are a-changin’ — rimfire ammo prices have dropped dramatically, so you can now get very good rimfire ammunition for just four bucks a box, such as Norma Tac-22. That works out to a mere eight cents a round. At that price, you can afford to shoot every weekend.

Rimfire Biathlon Target — Tons of Fun
RimfireSteel.com offers the unique Rimfire Steel Biathlon Target, a scaled-down Biathlon target designed for use at 50 feet for training and recreational shooting. This is one of our favorite rimfire targets. You can increase the level of challenge by moving it to 25 yards! Watch the video — it shows how to reset the five plates remotely with a lanyard.

Make Your Own Shooting Gallery with Reactive Rimfire Targets
For .22 LR fans, the folks at Action Target have created a whole series of steel rimfire targets. Much lighter than their centerfire counterparts, these rimfire targets are easier to transport and easier to set up. With this wide selection of reactive targets, you can create your own shooting gallery.


Rimfire Dueling Tree

Rimfire Spinning Jack

Rimfire Plate Rack

Rimfire Buffalo

In this video, Michael Bane reviews Action Target’s line of rimfire targets, which includes plate racks, spinners, dueling trees, and more. As Michael explains: “This line of targets is very well thought out. For example — dueling trees are a lot of fun. But a centerfire dueling tree weighs a lot, it’s hard to cart it around. A rimfire dueling tree is easy to set up, easy to carry around.”

New PT Target “Walks” When Hit
Action Target has just released a new reactive target that doesn’t even need a stand or base. The patent-pending PT Twist rests on the ground, and flops over or “walks” when hit. Constructed from a single piece of 3/16″-thick A514B steel, the PT Twist has no welds or bolts to break or ricochet. Watch the PT Twist in action:

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April 23rd, 2017

Daisy Will Support Boy Scouts’ Marksmanship Training

Daisy Boy Scouts America BSA portable inflatable BB Gun Range

“Involvement in the shooting sports develops … discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.” — Daisy President, Keith Higginbotham

Like many of our readers, your Editor got his first introduction to organized shooting sports through the Boy Scouts. At a Scouting summer camp I participated in competitive target shooting with both airguns and single-shot .22 LR rifles. That experience helped me earn my Rifle Shooting Merit Badge. That marksmanship badge remains one of the most popular non-mandatory Merit Badges. Since 2009, over 350,000 Rifle Shooting Merit Badges have been earned by young scouts.

rifle shooting merit badge

Given the vital role Scouting plays in developing the next generation of shooters, we’re pleased that Daisy has agreed to partner with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This agreement makes Daisy the official airgun of the Boy Scouts of America.

This partnership makes Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun ranges available to the BSA’s 274 local councils as well as BSA camp sites across the country. Instructors emphasize shooting safety rules and teach basic marksmanship, including breath control, trigger pull, sight picture and more.

Daisy President Keith Higginbotham stated: “Teaching the basics of marksmanship and shooting safety… continues to be at the core of our mission. Hundreds of millions of adults have been positively affected by Scouting, learning to become responsible citizens, developing character and becoming self-reliant. Involvement in the shooting sports develops similar traits, such as discipline, patience, self-control, and responsibility.”

Daisy Inflatable BB Gun Range
Daisy’s unique inflatable BB Gun Ranges can be deployed at Scout camps, and as well as hunting and conservation events. These mobile ranges allow instructors to teach young poeple gun safety rules and marksmanship skills. When set-up, the range measures 22′ 5″ long by 9′ 6″ wide by 8′ 6″ tall.

Daisy Boy Scouts America BSA portable inflatable BB Gun Range

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April 22nd, 2017

New Savage Model 10 GRS — Very Impressive Factory Rifle

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS

Savage has a new flagship field rifle — the Model 10 GRS, fitted with a superb GRS rifle stock from Norway. We shot this rifle at SHOT Show Media Day and liked it better than many of the metal-chassis rifles being marketed to the tactical/PRS market. The Model 10 GRS is very comfortable to shoot, and the inherent accuracy is impressive for a rifle with a $1449.00 MSRP and “street price” around $1250. Two chamberings are currently offered, a .308 Win with 20″ barrel and a 6.5 Creedmoor with 24″ barrel. Between those two choices, for tactical games, we’d certainly favor the 24″ 6.5 Creedmoor.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS

The Model 10 GRS features adjustable cheekpiece and adjustable length of pull. The grip area is very comfortable, filling the hand naturally. The stock has a nice surface texture providing good “traction” on forearm and grip. The stock is fairly light but very strong, being made from 15% fiberglass-reinforced Durethan, with 65% glass bedding material.

Initial prototype Model 10 GRS rifles showed impressive accuracy (better than some of the metal modular rifles on the market). We attribute this to the fluted, heavy-contour button-rifled barrel and the user-adjustable AccuTrigger. We could get the trigger pull weight plenty low enough for tactical competition use.

GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS

Features & Benefits:
GRS adjustable stock made of 15 percent fiberglass-reinforced Durethan
User-adjustable Savage AccuTrigger
Slim grip and fore-end with textured rubber grip surfaces
Adjustable length-of-pull from 33.5 to 36.5 cm
5/8-24 threaded muzzle
Fluted heavy barrel
10-round AICS-compatible magazine
Flush cup sling loops plus sling mount for bipod use

Savage Model 10 GRS Designations:
22596 / 6.5 Creedmoor, 24-inch barrel / $1,449
22599 / 308 Win., 20-inch barrel / $1,449

This photo from Guns America Media Day Video Report. BUY HERE.
GRS Savage Model 10 tactical Rifle Norway PRS

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April 22nd, 2017

When and How Scopes Fail — How to Diagnose Optics Problems

Riflescope Repairs

Riflescopes are mechanical contraptions. One of the sad realities about precision shooting is that, sooner or later, you will experience a scope failure. If you’re lucky it won’t happen in the middle of a National-level competition. And hopefully the failure will be dramatic and unmistakable so you won’t spend months trying to isolate the issue. Unfortunately, scope problems can be erratic or hard to diagnose. You may find yourself with unexplained flyers or a slight degradation of accuracy and you won’t know how to diagnose the problem. And when a 1/8th-MOA-click scope starts failing, it may be hard to recognize the fault immediately, because the POI change may be slight.

When An Expensive Scope Goes Bad
A few seasons back, this editor had a major-brand 8-25x50mm scope go bad. How did I know I had a problem? Well the first sign was a wild “drop-down” flyer at a 600-yard match. After shooting a two-target relay, I took a look at my targets. My first 5-shot group had five shots, fairly well centered, in about 2.2″. Pretty good. Everything was operating fine. Then I looked at the second target. My eye was drawn to four shots, all centered in the 10 Ring, measuring about 2.4″. But then I saw the fifth shot. It was a good 18″ low, straight down from the X. And I really mean straight down — if you drew a plumb line down from the center of the X, it would pass almost through the fifth shot.

Is My Scope Actually Malfunctioning or Is This Driver Error?
That was disconcerting, but since I had never had any trouble with this scope before, I assumed it was a load problem (too little powder?), or simple driver error (maybe I flinched or yanked the trigger?). Accordingly, I didn’t do anything about the scope, figuring the problem was me or the load.

Scope Failure mechanical Point of Impact

Even expensive scopes can fail, or start to perform erratically — and that can happen without warning, or for no apparent reason. Here are some signs that you may be having scope issues.

1. Click count has changed signficantly from established zero at known range.
2. Noticeably different click “feel” as you rotate turrets, or turrets feel wobbly.
3. Inability to set Adjustable Objective or side focus to get sharp target image.
4. Shot Point of Impact is completely different than click value after elevation/windage change. For example, when you dial 2 MOA “up” but you observe a 6 MOA rise in POI.

Problems Reappear — Huge POI Swings Affirm This Scope is Toast
But, at the next range session, things went downhill fast. In three shots, I did manage to get on steel at 600, with my normal come-up for that distance. Everything seemed fine. So then I switched to paper. We had a buddy in the pits with a walkie-talkie and he radioed that he couldn’t see any bullet holes in the paper after five shots. My spotter said he thought the bullets were impacting in the dirt, just below the paper. OK, I thought, we’ll add 3 MOA up (12 clicks), and that should raise POI 18″ and I should be on paper, near center. That didn’t work — now the bullets were impacting in the berm ABOVE the target frame. The POI had changed over 48″ (8 MOA). (And no I didn’t click too far — I clicked slowly, counting each click out loud as I adjusted the elevation.) OK, to compensate now I took off 8 clicks which should be 2 MOA or 12″. No joy. The POI dropped about 24″ (4 MOA) and the POI also moved moved 18″ right, to the edge of the target.

Riflescope RepairsFor the next 20 shots, we kept “chasing center” trying to get the gun zeroed at 600 yards. We never did. After burning a lot of ammo, we gave up. Before stowing the gun for the trip home, I dialed back to my 100-yard zero, which is my normal practice (it’s 47 clicks down from 600-yard zero). I immediately noticed that the “feel” of the elevation knob didn’t seem right. Even though I was pretty much in the center of my elevation (I have a +20 MOA scope mount), the clicks felt really tight — as they do when you’re at the very limit of travel. There was a lot of resistance in the clicks and they didn’t seem to move the right amount. And it seemed that I’d have four or five clicks that were “bunched up” with a lot of resistance, and then the next click would have almost no resistance and seem to jump. It’s hard to describe, but it was like winding a spring that erratically moved from tight to very loose.

At this point I announced to my shooting buddies: “I think the scope has taken a dump.” I let one buddy work the elevation knob a bit. “That feels weird,” he said: “the clicks aren’t consistent… first it doesn’t want to move, then the clicks jump too easily.”

Convinced that I had a real problem, the scope was packed up and shipped to the manufacturer. So, was I hallucinating? Was my problem really just driver error? I’ve heard plenty of stories about guys who sent scopes in for repair, only to receive their optics back with a terse note saying: “Scope passed inspection and function test 100%. No repairs needed”. So, was my scope really FUBAR? You bet it was. When the scope came back from the factory, the Repair Record stated that nearly all the internal mechanicals had been replaced or fixed: “Replaced Adjustment Elevation; Replaced Adjustment Windage; Reworked Erector System; Reworked Selector; Reworked Parallax Control.”

How to Diagnose Scope Problems
When you see your groups open up, there’s a very good chance this is due to poor wind-reading, or other “driver error”. But my experience showed me that sometimes scopes do go bad. When your accuracy degrades without any other reasonable explanation, the cause of the problem may well be your optics. Here are some of the “symptoms” of scope troubles:

1. Large shot-to-shot variance in Point of Impact with known accurate loads.
2. Uneven tracking (either vertical or horizontal).
3. Change of Point of Impact does not correspond to click inputs.
4. Inability to zero in reasonable number of shots.
5. Unexpected changes in needed click values (compared to previous come-ups).
6. Visible shift in reticle from center of view.
7. Changed “feel” or resistance when clicking; or uneven click-to-click “feel”.
8. Inability to set parallax to achieve sharpness.
9. Turrets or other controls feel wobbly or loose.
10. Internal scope components rattle when gun is moved.

Source of Problem Unknown, but I Have a Theory
Although my scope came with a slightly canted reticle from the factory, it had otherwise functioned without a hitch for many years. I was able to go back and forth between 100-yard zero and 600-yard zero with perfect repeatability for over five years. I had confidence in that scope. Why did it fail when it did? My theory is side-loading on the turrets. I used to carry the gun in a thick soft case. I recently switched to an aluminum-sided hard case that has pretty dense egg-crate foam inside. I noticed it took some effort to close the case, though it was more than big enough, width-wise, to hold the gun. My thinking is that the foam wasn’t compressing enough, resulting in a side-load on the windage turret when the case was clamped shut. This is just my best guess; it may not be the real source of the problem. Remember, as I explained in the beginning of this story, sometimes scopes — just like any mechanical system — simply stop working for no apparent reason.

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April 22nd, 2017

‘Pride and Joy’ Rifles Showcased in Shooters’ Forum


This stunning flame-painted PPC belongs to Chris from Australia. This rifle features a Stiller Viper action, Speedy (Robertson) BRX stock, and Maddco (Australian) 14-twist barrel chambered in 6PPC.

In our Shooters’ Forum you’ll find a thread in which readers can post photos of their “pride and joy” — their favorite rifle. You’ll find a wide range of guns, from “big boomers” to .17-caliber varminters. Here are some of our favorite entries in the “Pride and Joy” Gallery.

The Bear’s Barbed-Wire Barnard

BarryO, aka ‘the Blue-eyed Bear’, posted his beautiful 6mm Dasher, with its unique barbed wire 3D finish. (There’s a story behind that design.) This rifle was smithed by John King in Montana, with stock bedding work by Leo Anderson. The gun features a Barnard ‘P’ action (with trigger), and 28″ Broughton 5C fluted barrel with VAIS muzzle brake. The Barnard sits in a Tom Manners carbon fiber BR stock decorated with amazing graphics by Mad Shadow Custom Paint.

Sebastian’s Radical Swallowtail 6PPC

Sebastian Lambang is the designer and builder of SEB Coaxial Rests. He’s a smart, creative guy, so you knew when he designed a short-range benchrest stock it would be something special. It needed to be lightweight, yet very rigid. Using “out of the box” thinking, Seb employs a truss-style structure to provide great strength with minimal weight. The rear section is equally radical. There are two splayed “keels” in the rear, forming what this Editor calls a “swallowtail” rear design. Others have called it a “catamaran buttstock.” Below is a side-view of the prototype SEB stock before painting.

Brad’s 6CM Long-Range Match Rifle
Chad Dixon Surgeon 6CM Paint

Chambered in the 6mm Competition match cartridge, this handsome rig features a Surgeon RSR Action, Bartlein Barrel, and LRB stock. Barrel work was done by Chad Dixon at LongRifles, Inc. and paint by AT Custom Painting.

Varmint Special with Figured Walnut Stock
pride joy low boy gray yellow Dasher

Here’s a handsome varminter with a beautifully-figured walnut stock. This is one of three rifles Forum Member Dan Hall posted in the Pride and Joy thread.

A Trio of Pealescent Bench Guns
pride joy blue UK 7mm WSM

DixiePPC served up not one but THREE pretty bench rigs, all with pearlescent paint jobs. We’d be proud to own three eye-catching rifles like that. Click the image to see a full-screen version.

Zebra-Skinned Match Rifle
And here is Mark Walker’s amazing Zebra-skin BR rifle. With that wild-looking paint job, this rifle turns heads whenever Mark brings it to the range…

Anschutz BR rifle

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing Post comment »
April 21st, 2017

SCATT MX-02 Electro-Optical Training System for Shooters

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

“SCATT” — if you’re an Olympic Class air rifle or smallbore competitor you know what SCATT means. The Russian-made SCATT is a marksmanship training system with an electro-optical sensor that fits on the end of a barrel. The sensor “sees” the target and then tracks your muzzle movement relative to the center of the target, recording a “trace” that can be displayed on a computer. The latest SCATT MX-02 unit works for live-fire training as well as dry-fire training. To learn more about the SCATT electronic trainers, visit SCATTUSA.com.

Pro shooter Kirsten Joy Weiss demonstrates the SCATT MX-02 electronic training system:

The system traces and records valuable information such as hold pattern, shot hold duration, follow-through, recoil pattern, and much more. The latest SCATT MX-02 systems can be used both indoors and outdoors up to 300 meters (and possibly more). READ FULL SCATT MX-02 TEST HERE.

SCATT traces reveal muzzle movements during the aiming process.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Review Video Electronic Trainging system test

Kirsten Joy Weiss, a top-level competitive position shooter, has tested the latest SCATT MX-02 training systtem. She put the MX-02 through its paces, and then produced an informative video that shows how it works. Click on the video above to see Kirsten use the MX-02 with her Anschütz rifle and other guns.

Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

Kirsten was impressed with the SCATT MX-02 she tested:

“We live with tech woven into our every day, so if you had the chance to work with a computer to make you a better shooter — would you? Can a computer train you as well as your favorite coach or, dare to say, better than a human?”

Weiss says it’s like having a little coach with you recording your every move. “If R2D2 had a cousin who knew how to shoot,” Weiss quips, “his name would be the MX-02″.

The SCATT MX-02 can also be used with target pistols.
Kirsten Joy Weiss SCATT MX-02 Video Trainer demo electronic trace target live fire dry firing

Permalink - Videos, Optics, Shooting Skills Post comment »
April 21st, 2017

Reloading at the Range — Smart Option for Load Development

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

Glen Zediker Reloading at RangeThe February 2013 edition of Shooting Sports USA magazine has an interesting feature by Glen Zediker. In this Transporting Success, Part I article, Zediker explains the advantages of loading at the range when your are developing new loads or tuning existing loads. Glen, the author of the popular Handloading for Competition book, discusses the gear you’ll need to bring and he explains his load development procedure. In discussing reloading at the range, Glen focuses on throwing powder and seating bullets, because he normally brings enough sized-and-primed brass to the range with him, so he doesn’t need to de-prime, re-size, and then re-prime his cases.

Zediker writes: “Testing at the range provides the opportunity to be thorough and flexible. You also have the opportunity to do more testing under more similar conditions and, therefore, get results that are more telling. Once you are there, you can stay there until you get the results you want. No more waiting until next time.”

Zediker starts with three-shot groups: “I usually load and fire three samples [with] a new combination. I’ll then increase propellant charge… based on the results of those three rounds, and try three more. I know that three rounds is hardly a test, but if it looks bad on that few, it’s not going to get any better.”

Glen reminds readers to record their data: “Probably the most important piece of equipment is your notebook! No kidding. Write it down. Write it all down.

RCBS Partner PressThere’s More to the Story…

Editor’s Note: In Zediker’s discussion of loading at the range, he only talks about throwing powder and seating bullets. In fact, Glen opines that: “there is little or no need for sizing.” Well, maybe. Presumably, for each subsequent load series, Zediker uses fresh brass that he has previously sized and primed. Thus he doesn’t need to de-prime or resize anything.

That’s one way to develop loads, but it may be more efficient to de-prime, re-size, and load the same cases. That way you don’t need to bring 50, 80, or even 100 primed-and-sized cases to the range. If you plan to reload your fired cases, you’ll need a system for de-priming (and re-priming) the brass, and either neck-sizing or full-length sizing (as you prefer). An arbor press can handle neck-sizing. But if you plan to do full-length sizing, you’ll need to bring a press that can handle case-sizing chores. Such a press need not be large or heavy. Many benchresters use the small but sturdy RCBS Partner Press, on sale now at Amazon for $77.99. You may even get by with the more basic Lee Precision Compact Reloading Press, shown in Zediker’s article. This little Lee press, Lee product #90045, retails for under $35.00.

Glen Zediker Reloading at Range

Permalink - Articles, Reloading 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2017

Wicked Accurate Low-Cost Rimfire Ammo — Norma Tac 22

Norma Tac22 Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire 22LR ammunition ammo
Photo from Champion Shooters Supply. Groups shot with Anschutz 1913 match rifle at 50 yards.

Check out that group. That’s impressive accuracy at 50 yards. You’d expect to pay $10.00 or more per box for rimfire ammo that can shoot this well. But get this — you can now get the Norma Tac-22 for just $3.99 per box. That’s right, this is some of the lowest-priced “Big Name” rimfire ammo you can buy, yet it offers top-tier accuracy. Low cost with high performance — that’s hard to beat.

Norma Tac22 Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire 22LR ammunition ammo

The target photos above come from Champion Shooters Supply, which may have gotten an exceptional lot. This vendor tells us: “We have found this to run very well in Ruger rifles, handguns, and target pistols. These are 5-shot groups at 50 yards with an Anschutz 1913 rifle. This is an incredible value.”

We agree. We just ordered some Norma Tac-22 ourselves. Grab it while you can at these rock-bottom prices. The best deal we found on Norma Tac-22 ammo was $3.99 per box at Midsouth (Click below).

Norma Tac22 Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire 22LR ammunition ammo

Other vendors with this Norma Tac-22 .22 LR rimfire ammo:

Bullets.com, $5.25/box | Champion Shooters Supply, $4.80/box | Grafs.com, $6.29/box

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2017

New Spin on BC — How Barrel Twist Rates Affect Bullet Drag

Bryan Litz bullet rpm BC Drag ballistics coefficient twist rate

You may not realize it… but to get the optimum BC from your bullets (i.e. the lowest aerodynamic drag), you must spin the bullets fast enough. Bullet drag increases (as expressed by lower BC) if the bullet spins too slowly. Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics explains how BC changes with twist rates…

More Spin, Less Drag
In this article, we look at how twist rate and stability affect the Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of a bullet. Again, this topic is covered in detail in the Modern Advancements book. Through our testing, we’ve learned that adequate spin-stabilization is important to achieving the best BC (and lowest drag). In other words, if you don’t spin your bullets fast enough (with sufficient twist rate), the BC of your bullets may be less than optimal. That means, in practical terms, that your bullets drop more quickly and deflect more in the wind (other factors being equal). Spin your bullets faster, and you can optimize your BC for best performance.

Any test that’s designed to study BC effects has to be carefully controlled in the sense that the variables are isolated. To this end, barrels were ordered from a single barrel smith, chambered and headspaced to the same rifle, with the only difference being the twist rate of the barrels. In this test, 3 pairs of barrels were used. In .224 caliber, 1:9” and 1:7” twist. In .243 caliber it was 1:10” and 1:8”, and in .30 caliber it was 1:12” and 1:10”. Other than the twist rates, each pair of barrels was identical in length, contour, and had similar round counts. Here is a barrel rack at the Applied Ballistics Lab:

Applied Ballistics used multiple barrels to study how twist rate affects BC.

stability gyroscopic ballistics coefficient drag twist rate

“The Modern Advancements series is basically a journal of the ongoing R&D efforts of the Applied Ballistics Laboratory. The goal of the series is to share what we’re learning about ballistics so others can benefit.” –Bryan Litz

Barrel twist rate along with velocity, atmospherics, and bullet design all combine to result in a Gyroscopic Stability Factor (SG). It’s the SG that actually correlates to BC. The testing revealed that if you get SG above 1.5, the BC may improve slightly with faster twist (higher SG), but it’s very difficult to see. However, BC drops off very quickly for SGs below 1.5. This can be seen in the figure below from Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting.

The chart shows that when the Gyroscopic Stability Factor (SG) is above 1.5, BC is mostly constant. But if SG falls below 1.5, BC drops off dramatically.
stability gyroscopic ballistics coefficient drag twist rate

Note that the BC drops by about 3% for every 0.1 that SG falls below 1.5. The data supports a correlation coefficient of 0.87 for this relationship. That means the 3% per 0.1 unit of SG is an accurate trend, but isn’t necessarily exact for every scenario.

It’s a common assumption that if a shooter is seeing great groups and round holes, that he’s seeing the full potential BC of the bullets. These tests did not support that assumption. It’s quite common to shoot very tight groups and have round bullet holes while your BC is compromised by as much as 10% or more. This is probably the most practical and important take-away from this test.

To calculate the SG of your bullets in your rifle, visit the Berger Bullets online stability calculator. This FREE calculator will show you the SG of your bullets, as well as indicate if your BC will be compromised (and by how much) if the SG is below 1.5. With the stated twist rate of your barrel, if your selected bullet shows an SG of 1.5 (or less), the calculator will suggest alternate bullets that will fully stabilize in your rifle. This valuable online resource is based directly on live fire testing. You can use the SG Calculator for free on the web — you don’t need to download software.


Learn More About SG and BC
Barrel Twist Rate Velocity Modern Advancements Book Bryan Litz Applied BallisticsThis article is just a brief overview of the interrelated subjects of twist rate, Gyroscopic Stability, and BC. The coverage of twist rates in Modern Advancements in Long-Range Shooting is more detailed, with multiple live fire tests.

Other chapters in the book’s twist rate section include:
· Stability and Drag – Supersonic
· Stability and Drag – Transonic
· Spin Rate Decay
· Effect of Twist rate on Precision

Other sections of the book include: Modern Rifles, Scopes, and Bullets as well as Advancements in Predictive Modeling. This book is sold through the Applied Ballistics online store. Modern Advancements in Long Range Shooting is also available in eBook format in the Amazon Kindle store.

Permalink - Articles, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
April 20th, 2017

Try NO-LEAD Cleaner for Barrels after Shooting Lead-Alloy Bullets

Suhl Rimfire Benchrest indoor cleaning
We have used NO-LEAD Cleaner in rimfire benchrest rifles similar to this modified Suhl 150-1. It helped restore accuracy with minimal brushing.

NO-lead brushless lead remover Wipe-out Sharp Shoot-rMade by the same folks that created Wipe-Out™, and Carb-Out™, the NO-LEAD Brushless Lead Remover™ really works. Honest. If you are an active rimfire shooter, or if you shoot cast lead-alloy bullets in centerfire rifles and pistols, you should try this product. We now use NO-LEAD in our rimfire benchrest rifles, and in some centerfire guns that receive a steady diet of soft-alloy cast bullets (90%+ lead). (With rimfire guns, you don’t need to use NO-LEAD very often — maybe every 300-400 rounds unless you have a real fouler of a barrel.)

If you’ve got stubborn lead fouling in a rimfire barrel, or on a pistol’s muzzle brake/compensator, you should definitely give this stuff a try. We don’t know how but it does soften lead deposits. The manufacturer says you don’t need brushes, but we found that a bit of brushing (after NO-LEAD application) can help remove more serious lead build-up.

Frankly we were surprised to find a lead solvent that really works. We have tried a half-dozen or more other lead “cleaners” that promise to dissolve lead and most of them, we discovered, are nearly useless. There’s a reason for that, as the lead alloys used in bullets don’t react to typical petrochemical-based solvents. It took the Wipe-Out chemists over five years to perfect a new water-based solution that really does dissolve lead.

NO-LEAD Cleaning Procedure — Read Carefully
NO-LEAD Lead Remover is a clear, red gel that is easy to apply. Just swab it in your bore (or on muzzle brakes) with wet patches or bore mop and let it sit for a few minutes. (The manufacturer says you can leave the NO-LEAD for up to 20 minutes, but that long of a dwell time does not seem necessary with our rimfire barrels.) When it contacts lead it will start to foam and you’ll see that the NO-LEAD solvent turns a pastel pink when it dissolves lead. The pink comes from the formation of lead oxide. After the recommended dwell time, simply patch out the dissolved lead deposits (you can also use a nylon brush for stubborn lead build-up).

NOTE: After cleaning, it is very important that you get all the NO-LEAD out of your barrel, and neutralize it. We recommend following the application of NO-Lead with Wipe-out or Patch-Out to neutralize the NO-LEAD, clear the bore, and remove residual carbon and copper fouling. If you don’t have Wipe-Out or Patch-out, flush the barrel thoroughly with Rubbing Alcohol or even a solution of Dawn dish detergent — then re-oil the bore.

Be Sure to Neutralize NO-LEAD After Use
Remember that N0-LEAD is a strong, slightly acidic chemical that needs to be neutralized after use. If you leave it on a nice, blued barrel for too long, it can harm the bluing. NO-LEAD will remove all the surface oils from the barrel bore. For this reason it is recommended that you neutralize NO-LEAD with Wipe-Out, or Patch-Out, which both contain effective corrosion inhibitors. If you don’t have those products, once you’ve flushed the NO-LEAD with something like rubbing alcohol, then follow with a gun oil. Caution: A petroleum-based gun oil will NOT, by itself, neutralize NO-LEAD. You need to neutralize first, then apply the corrosion inhibitor (or do it all in one step with Wipe-Out or Patch-Out).

Where to Buy NO-LEAD Lead Remover
NO-LEAD Lead Remover costs $15.99 for an 8 oz. squeeze bottle with a flip-top spout. This product is sold directly by Sharp Shoot R Precision Products, www.Sharpshootr.com, or you can purchase NO-LEAD through many other online vendors. For more information, send an email via the Sharp Shoot-R Contact Form or or contact Sharp Shoot-R at (785) 883-4444. You can ask for Terry Paul, Sharp Shoot-R’s owner and the master chemist who developed the NO-LEAD formula.

Permalink Gear Review 1 Comment »
April 19th, 2017

Time Waits for No Man… Use Your Remaining Days Wisely

Mortality life expectancy carpe diem
This photo is one of Nightforce’s series of picturesque “Gunscapes”. SEE MORE HERE.

This story is not (directly) about firearms, or reloading gear, or any of the little details of our sport. It, instead, is about life… and, sadly, about death. The recent passing of a friend (and fellow shooter) got me to thinking, “I’m sixty — what if I only had ten more years to live — how would I want to live my life? What really counts the most? What things would I do differently? What dreams would I pursue?”

From the demographics of this website, I know we have thousands of readers in their 50s, 60s, and 70s. Hopefully we will all live long, happy, and fruitful lives. But it’s not a bad idea to consider that we are all mortal, and the clock is ticking. Consider this — in the United States, the average male life expectancy is 77 years*. Using that number as a benchmark, I personally may have just 17 more years to enjoy life and to do the things I love — shooting, traveling, sailing, camping, listening to music, being with friends and family. Breaking that down into months, I have 204 more months to do fun and rewarding stuff. Just 204 months — that’s a real number my brain can comprehend all too well. If I live an average lifespan, that means I also only have 935 more weekends to do all that I want to do. With less than 1000 weekends remaining, I don’t want to waste a single one.

Living a Life with More Good Times, and Fewer Regrets

Recently, a group of men, very near the end of their lives, were surveyed. They were asked if they would do things differently if they could live their lives over again. The vast majority of these men gave surprisingly similar responses, which fit into five “Life Lessons”. These “Top 5 Regrets of the Dying” were reported in a story by Bronnie Ware, writing for the AARP online magazine. Ware writes: “When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced.” Here are the five regrets most often mentioned by older men:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. ”

Lesson: Don’t wait to follow your dreams. Be true to yourself.

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
“This came from every male patient [surveyed]. All of the men… deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

Lesson: Don’t let your work crowd out other important aspects of life.

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming.”

Lesson: Express yourself truthfully. Don’t suppress your feelings for decades.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
“There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort they deserved. Many [were] so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years.”

Lesson: Take an interest your friends’ lives; keep bonds of friendship strong.

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
“This is a surprisingly common [regret]. Many did not realize until the end that happiness is a choice.”

Lesson: Affirmatively pursue the things that bring you happiness. Don’t just stick to old habits.

Turn Off the Computer, and Do Something Memorable with Your Friends Today
How does this all apply to our shooting hobby? Well, if (like me) you are middle-aged (or older), go have some fun this weekend! Load up your rifle and get to the range. Don’t put off doing the things that make you happy. Call those old buddies you may not have seen in a long time. Renew friendships. Get out into nature. And start figuring out how you can live your dreams. As the saying goes, “Time waits for no man”.


*One of our readers pointed out that the numbers actually work out better than this, because once a man survives to later life, men of his surviving age cohort enjoy a projected lifespan longer than the average projected lifespan from birth. For example, using actuarial tables, a man born exactly 60 years ago (still alive today), has a calculated life expectancy of 23.4 years… meaning he would live to age 83.4 years, on average. CLICK HERE to see actuarial-predicted longevity based on your birthdate.

lifespan life expectancy weekends months years


Practicing What I Preach…
As you read this, your Editor will NOT be sitting in front of a computer. Instead he will be on a boat, taking him 30 miles offshore to this beautiful spot. Three days with no internet, no TV, no Schedule Cs, and no traffic. Just good friends and unspoiled nature. Living like a kid again.

island time gone fishing Editor on holiday

Permalink - Articles, News, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
April 19th, 2017

Tiny Twenty Punches P-Dog at 1032 Yards — Voldoc’s Story

Voldoc Savage 20BR 1000 yard Prairie Dog

The “Holy Grail” of prairie dog shooting is dispatching a dog at ultra-long-range — the farther the better. Here we recount the quest of Forum member VolDoc to nail a Prairie Dog at 1000+ yards with a Savage .20-caliber rifle. If you’re a fan of the “Terrific 20s”, or have an interest in ultra-long-range varminting, you’ll enjoy this story. VolDoc, a dentist by trade, is a seasoned Prairie Dog Hunter who has made many trips to the P-Dog fields in Colorado with his hunting buddies. But until recently he had never managed to nail a P-Dog at 1000 yards with a .20-caliber rifle. Nor, as far as we can determine, had any one else. But VolDoc did it — accomplishing a verified Prairie Dog kill at 1032 yards, possibly the longest recorded with a .20-Caliber rifle.

READ .20-Cal 1000-Yard Prairie Dog Quest FULL STORY

Modified Hart-Barreled 20BR Savage Does the Job
Shooting Prairie Dogs at extreme long range takes highly specialized equipment. To make his 1032-yard kill shot, VolDoc used a modified Dual-Port Savage chambered in 20 BR. The stock was geometrically-uniformed and pillar-bedded by smith Kevin Rayhill, who fitted a 28″ Hart barrel with a Rayhill muzzle brake. VolDoc loaded his 20BR with 55gr Berger BT LR Varmint bullets (0.381 G1 BC) pushed by a stout charge of Hodgdon Varget.

Voldoc 20BR Savage Rayhill

It took good conditions, and patience to make the successful 1000+ yard shot. Voldoc explains:

“We were out on the Colorado prairie at daylight and the conditions were perfect. The sunrise was at my back and we had about a 10 mph tailwind. I looked through my Leica Geovid Rangefinder Binos and the Prairie Dogs were out for breakfast. I quickly ranged the targets and found a group at about 1,050 yards.

My first shot was very, very close. I added about four clicks up and a couple of clicks left for windage and let another go. That shot threw dirt all over, but the dog didn’t even flinch. On the fourth shot, I saw the dog go belly up and kick its final throws. My quest for the 20-Caliber 1,000-yard Prairie Dog had become a reality. We confirmed the distance with our lasers at 1,032 yards.”

Voldoc Savage 20BR 1000 yard Prairie Dog

Voldoc’s Accurate Arsenal
In our report on VolDoc’s successful 1K Prairie Dog quest, we spotlighted two of VolDoc’s other accurate varmint guns. First, fans of fine wood will love VolDoc’s switch-barrel, drop-port Stiller Diamondback rifle. The wood on this gun is stunning. The custom stock was crafted from 40-year-old English Walnut to match the profile of a Shehane ST-1000. The rifle has three barrels with three different chamberings: 6BR Brux 1:8″-twist HV; 6BRX Krieger 1:8″-twist HV, and 6mm Dasher Krieger 1:8.5″-twist fluted straight contour (no taper). The scope is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm, with 2DD reticle.

Voldoc Diamondback Dasher Drop-Port

VolDoc’s “Go-To” Prairie Dog Rifle — Big Orange Crush Dasher
Next, check out VolDoc’s “Big Orange Crush” rifle. This features a stainless Nesika ‘J’ action in a painted fiberglass Shehane ST-1000 stock. Originally a 6BR, the gun is now chambered as a 6mm Dasher with a .271″ no-turn neck. The barrel is a 1:12″-twist Krieger fited with Vais muzzle brake. Big Orange Crush shoots 87gr V-Maxs into bugholes at 3,400 fps, according to VolDoc. He tells us that “The barrel now has more than 3,000 rounds down the tube and exhibits little throat fire-cracking and no loss of accuracy. I can’t explain why, it just hasn’t deteriorated yet. This rifle is my best-ever ‘go-to’ Prairie Dog rifle.”

Voldoc 6mm Dasher Nesika Varmint Rifle 12-twist

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
April 18th, 2017

Powder Column Height Varies with Case-Filling Methods

powder drop tube

Most of us assume that if we weigh our powder carefully (down to the tenth of a grain or less) we can achieve a uniform powder fill from case to case in our handloads. Weighing does ensure that the weight of the propellant in each case is the same, but is the column of powder the same by volume each time? “Not necessarily” is the answer. An interesting experiment by our friend Boyd Allen demonstrates that the manner in which you place kernels in the case can make a significant difference in the height of the powder column within the brass case.

Using a Gempro 250 scale, Boyd measured exactly 30.6 grains of Vihtavuori N-133 powder. He then inserted this powder in the same cartridge case multiple times. (The case has a fired primer in place.) But here is the key — Boyd used various filling techniques. He did a slow fill, and a fast fill, and he also experimented with tapping and drop tubes. What Boyd discovered was that you can start with the exact same weight of powder (in fact the very same set of kernels), yet end up with vary different fill heights, depending on how you drop the kernels into the case. Look at the photos. Despite variations in lighting, the photos show the same 30.6 grains of powder, placed in the same cartridge, with four different methods.

Using funnels with long drop tubes packs kernels more tightly, creating a shorter powder column. That allows you to get more propellant (by weight) into the case.

powder drop tube

Boyd Explains the Procedure Used for his Experiment.

EDITOR’s NOTE: So there is no misunderstanding, Boyd started with a weighed 30.6 grain charge. This identical charge was used for ALL four fills. After a fill the powder was dumped from the case into a pan which was then used for the next fill technique to be tried. So, the powder weight was constant. Indeed the exact same kernels (of constant weight and number) were used for each fill.

Boyd writes: “I used the same powder for all fills, 30.6 gr. on a GemPro 250 checked more than once. All fills employed the same RCBS green transparent plastic funnel. The fast drop with the funnel only overflowed when it was removed from the case neck, and 15 granules of powder fell on the white paper that the case was sitting on. The fast-funnel-only drop with tapping, was done with the funnel in place and the case and funnel in one hand, while tapping the case body with the index finger hard, many times (about 20 fast double taps). My idea here was to “max out” the potential of this tapping technique.

The slow drop with the funnel and 10″-long .22 cal. Harrell’s Precision drop tube, was done by holding the scale pan over the funnel and tapping the spout of the pan repeatedly on the inside of the funnel about 1/3 down from the top, with the scale pan tilted just enough so that the powder will just flow. Many taps were involved, again, to max out the technique.

Again, to be clear, after each case filling, the powder was poured from the case back into the scale pan carefully. You may notice the similarity between the fast drop with the drop tube, and the funnel only with tapping. Although I did not photograph it, fast tube drop and tapping (combined) improved on tapping alone, but only to about half as far down the neck as the slow with drop tube. Due to the endless possible permutations, I picked four and left it at that.

I believe that I can make the rough judgment that the scale pan funnel and drop tube technique, which involved a longer drop period, and probably less velocity at the top of the tube, left more room in the top of the case neck than the slow drop from the measure with the same drop tube. You have both pictures, so you can make the comparison.” — Boyd

Does Powder Column Height Variance Make a Difference?
Boyd’s experiment proves pretty conclusively that the method of dropping a given weight of powder can affect the height of the powder column in the case and the degree of powder compression (when a bullet is seated). He showed this to be true even when the exact same set of kernels (of constant weight) was used in repetitive loadings. This raises some interesting questions:

1. Will subsequent cartridge transport and handling cause the powder to settle so the variances in powder column height are diminished?

2. If significant inconsistencies in powder column height remain at time of firing, will the difference in fill level hurt accuracy, or result in a higher extreme spread in velocity?

3. Is there any advantage (beyond increased effective case capacity) for a tight (low level) fill vs. a loose (high level) fill?

We don’t know the answer to these follow up questions. This Editor guesses that, if we tested low-fill-height rounds vs. high-fill-height rounds (all with same true fill quantity by weight), we might see meaningful differences in average velocity. I would also guess that if you fired 10 rounds that exhibited quite a difference in powder column heights, you might see a higher ES/SD than if you shot 10 rounds loaded with a very consistent powder column height (either high or low). But further testing is needed to determine if these predictions are true.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 6 Comments »
April 18th, 2017

Tough Brass — Peterson .308 Win Brass Strong After 32 Firings

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet
Here are five Peterson .308 Win casings after 32 loading/firing cycles (31 at SAAMI max). The brass remained intact, with no cracks. The circles below the shoulders are markings from pressure testing.

This story comes from the Peterson Cartridge website.

Torture Testing Peterson .308 Win Brass — 32 Load Cycles

Recently Peterson’s ballistician had some extra time in his schedule, and asked what he should work on next. He was told, “Just for the heck of it, see how many times you can fire our .308s before you experience failure.” So that’s what he set out to do.

He took five casings out of inventory and loaded them at SAAMI max pressure, which is the pressure we use for all of our longevity testing. It is a hot load, and he did the firing out of Peterson’s Universal Receiver. This way he could measure pressures and velocities each shot. He shot all five, 20 times. (It takes a long time to do that. Load five casings. Shoot five times. Back into the lab to reload, back into the indoor range to shoot, back into the lab, and so forth.)

After 20 firings with no sign of case deterioration, Peterson’s tester asked if he should keep going. “Sure, let’s see how long these can go”, was the reply. So he shot them five more times. Same result. All casings still in good shape. We told him to keep going. He shot each of them six more times. At this point each of the five casings had been fired 31 times. After several days of this the casings were still in good shape but “ballistician fatigue” was setting in. Finally he said, “Let me take these cases to an outdoor range and see how they do for accuracy.” The Peterson team agreed.

Five Shots at 100 Yards after 32 Load Cycles:

Peterson Cartridge Brass .308 Winchester torture test range accuracy IMR 4064 Sierra 155 Palma bullet

For the 32nd firing, the cases were loaded with a somewhat lighter load, and then tested for accuracy. The test rifle was a Tikka T-3 bolt action, with a 20 inch, 1:11″-twist barrel. After 32 firings the primer pockets had opened about 0.002″ (two-thousandths) but were still tight enough for further use. There were no cracks or signs of head separation. The tester put five shots in three holes at 100 yards. The group was 1.5 inches for the five shots, on a somewhat windy day.

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 8 Comments »
April 18th, 2017

Teaching New Shooters — CMP Training Resources

The CMP (Civilian Marksmanship Program) offers a wide variety of resources for novice shooters and juniors. These materials help novices learn basic marksmanship skills and get started in competition. Some resources can be downloaded from the CMP website, while others are available for purchase from the CMP E-Store. In addition, The CMP maintains a Coaching Resources webpage with dozens of informative articles. Here are some of the CMP articles you can find online:

teaching shooting positions youth junior

Videos

These short marksmanship trainging videos cover the basics of the Kneeling, Standing, and Prone postions. (NOTE: these are live links — videos will launch when you click.)

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April 17th, 2017

Bargain Finder 82: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Amazon.com — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $279.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $229.99, after manufacturer’s rebate. Right now, Amazon is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $279.99. That’s a great deal considering all the hardware you get. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $150.00+. But here’s the real incentive — this Rock Chucker Supreme Kit qualifies for a Buck$ or Bullets Rebate — choose either $50 or 500 Speer bullets. If you take the fifty bucks ($50), that reduces your net cost to just $229.00 for the entire RCBS Reloading Kit. That’s a total steal. NOTE: Cabelas.com also sells this RCBS Kit for the same $279.99 (before rebate).

2. Grafs.com — Burris Scope Close-Outs, Huge Savings

Graf's grafs.com Burris Scope close-out discount sale

Graf & Sons is now offering various Burris scopes with Close-Out Pricing– up to $40% off. If you are looking for a budget-priced, medium-range zoom scope for your hunting or varmint rifle, check out these deals. For example, the Burris Predator Quest 4.5-14x42mm (Side Focus) Scope is now just $199.99 — that a 38% savings. In addition to these optics close-outs, Grafs.com is offering FREE Shipping for a limited time. You can get FREE Shipping with orders totalling $100.00 or more. This shipping deal is valid through 4/18/17 at 11:59 PM.

3. PT&G — Howa Barreled Actions with Trigger, $350.00

Howa Weatherby Nosler Barreled Action HACT Trigger discount sale

Howa makes excellent, smooth-running actions, and the Howa HACT 2-stage trigger is WAY better than most domestic factory triggers. Right now you can save big bucks on Howa barreled actions, complete with HACT trigger and trigger-guard. Pacific Tool & Gauge (PT&G) sourced a truckload of Howa barreled actions, which are now on sale. Available at $350.00 are: .204 Ruger, .223 Rem, .22-250, .243 Win, 7mm-08, and .308 Win. Choose from light- or heavy-barrel contours. For $390.00 you can get .375 Ruger, 7mm Rem Mag. These barreled actions would be great for custom hunting/varmint rifle projects — many have factory camo finishes. Howa barrels typically deliver easy sub-MOA accuracy (and often much better). Some of these barreled actions may carry Weatherby or Nosler markings, but they were all made at the Howa factory in Japan.

4. Midsouth — .224-Cal 62 Grain BTHP Bullets, $24.86 for 250

Bullet Midsouth Special 65 grain hollow point varmint bullet

Headed out for a varmint safari soon? Need inexpensive bullets for your .223 Rem or 22-250? Then check out this deal on from Midsouth Shooters Supply. Get 250 BTHP 62gr .224-Caliber bullets for just $24.99. That’s just $9.94 per hundred. At that price, it doesn’t hurt so much when you shoot 1000+ rounds over a weekend. With good expansion, these bullets work great on prairie dogs and other small critters. Note: These sale bullets ship in a bag. Midsouth also offers bulk pricing on 500-bullet and 1000-bullet quantities.

5. Stocky’s Stocks — Composite Stock with Bedding Block, $179.99

Stocky's Stocks Composite V-block stock

Here’s a killer deal on a versatile Stocky’s Long Range Stock with aluminum V-block bedding system. For just $179.99, order this for Rem/Rem Clone long actions or short actions, with either narrow or wide (varmint/tactical) barrel channel. This would be a good choice for a varmint rifle. This is also offered with a matte black, tan, or olive baked-on textured finish for $199.99.

6. Cabela’s — Mossburg Shotgun in Waterproof Case, $469.99

Mossberg 500 shotgun scatter gun pistol shotgun marine mariner floating tube bug-out bag

Here’s the perfect weapon to repel boarders or fight zombies! OK, you may not really NEED a pistol-grip shotgun, but this thing is just so cool. The Mossburg 500 Mariner shotgun has a durable Marinecoat finish and comes in a Int’l Orange storage case that floats. Keep this pump-gun on your boat, in your truck, or make it part of your “bug-out kit”. The floating tube’s heavy-duty synthetic seal is factory-tested to be airtight and waterproof to 40 feet. With a 6-round capacity, this Mossberg shotgun features an 18.5″ cylinder-bore barrel with bead front sight. It even ships with a knife and a multi-tool. There is also a matte black version with a green tube for just $349.99.

7. Amazon — Motorola Walkie Talkies, $48.99 per Pair

Deals of Week Motorola Walkie Talkie Radio Weather Channel

Walkie-Talkies are “must-have” items for long-range shooting. They let you reset targets and talk to back to the firing line. These are also very handy on hunts. The Motorola MH230R Two-Way Radio is Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in FRS/GMRS Handheld Radios. This under-$50.00 set offers 22 channels with a claimed range up to 23 miles (We’ve used them and they worked at 3 miles line of sight). The kit includes: 2 radios, 2 belt clips, 1 dual drop-in charger, 1 charging adapter, 2 NiMH rechargeable battery packs. Run-time is about 10 hours — plenty for a full day of shooting. There is also a newer version, the Motorola T260 for $58.99.

8. Amazon — AR500 Steel 8″-Diameter Gong, $19.95 Delivered

Reactive Target AR500 Steel Gong Free Shipping 8 inch 8

We like reactive targets. It’s fun to “ring steel” and see a target move instantly when hit. For just twenty bucks (including shipping), it’s hard to go wrong with this 8″ AR500 Steel Gong. The 8″-diameter size is big enough for zeroing at 200 yards, yet offers a nice challenge at 500 yards and beyond. There is also a 6″-diameter model for just $14.00.

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